Almost a third of young adults traveled with drunk or drugged drivers

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Nearly a third of young high school graduates in the United States have traveled in a vehicle driven by a disabled person because of alcohol or drugs, according to a study published today in the scientific journal Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

According to the research carried out by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD), together with other organizations and universities, 23% of young adults, in the two years following their high school graduation, have traveled in a vehicle driven by a driver affected by the use of marijuana.

Similarly, 20% have been passengers in a vehicle with a driver with an alcohol index above what is allowed by law, and 6% have traveled in a vehicle driven by someone who has used illicit drugs, from solvents up to amphetamines, opioids and cocaine.

The study, carried out between 2009 and 2016, highlighted that “having traveled in a car with an impaired driver to drive (due to the use of alcohol, marijuana or illicit drugs) was related to an increased risk of driving while being disabled” or returning to travel in a vehicle with a disabled driver.

The authors analyzed the data from the NICHD Next Generation Health Study, an investigation that followed 7 years of more than 2,700 American teenagers, beginning in the tenth grade of high school.

Other factors that affect traveling in a vehicle with a driver who is not able to drive were living alone and not attending a four-year university or attending university and living on a university campus.

In its conclusions, the study calls for “broadening the information programs that educate young people about the risks of traveling in a vehicle with disabled drivers.”

The report was jointly produced by NICHD, the Colorado School of Public Health in Dénver, Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. (efeusa)

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